Friday, January 27, 2012

B³ Postgame Recap 1/27: Des Moines 2, Lincoln 5

With six players out of the lineup due to suspension or injury, a shorthanded Lincoln Stars team played a complete game tonight at the IceBox to beat the Des Moines Buccaneers by a score of 5-2.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.

With the win and the two points, the Stars improved to 21-13-2 (44 points) and are now tied for first place in the USHL Western Conference with the Omaha Lancers who lost at home tonight to the Tri-City Storm by a score of 3-2.  Click here to view the current USHL standings.

In the first period, both teams came out strong and put a number of good shots on goal but both goaltenders were up to the task.  Des Moines would outshoot Lincoln 14-12 in the first twenty minutes, but the Bucs' Jason Kasdorf, and the Stars' Charles Williams stopped every shot they saw.

In the second period, the Stars would get on the scoreboard first when Jonathan Grebosky got behind the play and after getting a pass from Teemu Tiitinen, broke in alone on a Kasdorf and roofed a backhand shot into the net to give Lincoln a 1-0 lead.  Grebosky's goal, which came just 57 seconds into the second period, was his second of the season.

A little over two minutes after Grebosky's goal, Jared Hanson scored on a deflection to give the Stars a 2-0 lead.  A point shot by Ralfs Freibergs was tipped in by Hanson who was positioned in front of Kasdorf.  Luke Johnson and Feibergs collected the assists on Hanson's 17th goal of the season.

Jared Hanson would strike once again at the 9:55 mark of the second when he fired the puck past Kasdorf, high and on the stick side, to give Lincoln a 3-0 lead.  Matt Friese and Luke Johnson picked up the assists on Hanson's 18th goal.  Hanson has already doubled his goal output from last season with 18 goals through 31 games played.  Last season, Hanson scored 9 goals in 53 games played.

With 4:22 left in the second period, the Bucs finally got on the board when Chad McDonald collected his own rebound off a blocked shot and wristed the puck past Charles Williams to pull Des Moines to within one goal at 3-1.  At this point in the game, I thought the Bucs were buzzing and playing much better, but a late Stars goal in the second period pretty much sealed the victory.

With only 40 seconds remaining in the third period, Stars forward Kevin Roy wristed the puck past Kasdorf to give Lincoln a 4-1 lead going into the second intermission.  From my seat, it appeared the shot by Roy may have been deflected by a Des Moined player before it found the back of the net.  Logan Smith earned the lone assist on Roy's league-leading 29th goal of the season.

In the third period, both teams would trade goals with Lincoln scoring early in the period and the Bucs scoring late.  At the 3:11 mark, Luke Johnson collected a rebound to the left of Kasdof and buried the puck into an open net to increase the Lincoln lead to 5-1.  Dominik Shine and Kevin Roy assisted on Johnson's tenth goal of the season.  Very late in the period, with the Bucs on a powerplay, Duggie Lagrone of Des Moines shot the puck past a screened Charles Williams to score the last goal of the game.    Lagrone's goal came with only 8 seconds remaining in the game.

Stars outshot the Bucs overall, 37-35.  Lincoln goaltender Charles Williams was solid in net as he stopped 33 of 35 shots on net to record his ninth win of the season.  Des Moines netminder Jason Kasdorf stopped 32 of 37 shots in the loss.

There were some fireworks late in this game when Dax Lauwers had two HUGE hits on the Bucs' Jason Kirtland.  Earlier in the third period, Kirtland was whistled for a charging penalty that some of the Stars players took exception too.  Shortly after Kirtland was released from the penalty box, Dax Lauwers dropped the mitts with Kirtland but for some reason the linesmen waiting until the players started to throw the first punches before they intervened and stopped the fight.  The early stop to the fight had all of the fans in attendance scratching their heads.

So late in the third period, Dax caught Kirtland with a huge check near the Stars' bench which sent Kirtland head over skates into the bench.  The crowd went nuts.  Shortly after that, Lauwers caught Kirtland again withh an open ice check that sent Kirtland immediately to the ice.  Lauwers was whistled for interference on the second hit, and as he was going to the penalty box, two Des Moines players (Connor Schmidt and Trent Samuels-Thomas) came off the Bucs bench to try to get at Lauwers.  Schmidt and Samuels-Thomas were held back by the linesmen and were immediately sent to the locker room after receiving misconduct penalties.

Here's some video of two Lauwers hits, and the aftermath.  The video quality from the IceBox isn't the greatest (worst in the league, in my opinion), and the camera person doesn't pick up the first Lauwers hit in which he sent Kirtland into the Stars bench.

Lincoln was only awarded one powerplay on the night and were not able to score on it.  Des Moines went 1-for-6 on the powerplay.  Referee Steve Thomson had a brutal game, in my opinion.  During the pregame lineups, Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye said Thomson was "one of the best referees in the USHL."  Uhh, I don't think so (unless Melbye was being sarcastic).  Thomson missed a number of calls on both teams.  Stars were awarded one powerplay in this game.  One.  You can't tell me that the Bucs were angels all night long.  Brutal performance by Thomson and I hope he never shows his face at the IceBox again this season.

As I mentioned above, the Stars were missing the following six players due to injury or suspension:  Jackson Teichroeb (suspension), Paul LaDue (suspension), Zach Frye (suspension), Brent Tate (suspension), Will Suter (suspension), and Markus McCrea (injury).

Gutsy effort by all of the Stars on the ice.  With the shorthanded bench, I was worried that by the third period some or all of the players might get gassed and tire out.  However, I didn't see that at all.  There was energy all throughout the game from the Lincoln bench.

The Stars will have the rest of this weekend off and won't play again until next Friday when they host the very same Des Moines Buccaneers at the IceBox.  Considering what happened late in the game, you have to figure the matchup next Friday will have a lot of "fireworks."  Get your tickets now.

Go Stars.

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